[D’backs.com] Hirano, Bradley work an inning in spring debuts - Yoshi Hirano had his first game action in the United States and threw 19 pitches to 5 batters. We will attribute the surprise of his first pitch, which made its way to the backstop, to him adjusting to the mound and an MLB game ball. He allowed two doubles in his frame including an earned run and a strikeout.
“It was the first time, so there were a little nerves going on,” Hirano said. “I was trying to get my command on all my fastballs, but I was putting a little too much on it, so they were going up. I wasn’t happy with the outing, but I’m going to build up from here, get my body prepared and get my fastball command.”
[D’backs.com] Lovullo adjusting to new mound-visit rules - I do not think players, managers, or the league anticipated how challenging it will be for teams to adjust to the new mound visit rule this season. Try to recall any particular game from last season. Chances are there were well over six “mound visits” as they are now defined. Go watch a previous Greinke start and try to keep track of how many times he steps towards a defender to confirm they are aware of the play situation. You might notice what an umpire would consider six mound visits occur in just a few short innings. Should teams really be penalized for their players ensuring they are all on the same page?
“Like I said from the very start, we will cooperate 100 percent with Major League Baseball,” Lovullo said. “We’re not going to gripe about it. We know what the rules are, and we’re just having to get used to the new normal.”
[Arizona Sports] For established D-backs, spring training is a different experience - In Arizona, we have watched most of the starters cut their teeth coming through the minor league system having to earn their way on the parent club. That journey typically began each season during Spring Training. Players such as Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Chris Owings, A.J. Pollock, Robbie Ray, and David Peralta have earned the right to approach Spring Training differently now that they quite a few seasons with the team under their belts. The core of this team has essentially grown to become Major League regulars with each other.
[Venom Strikes] Arizona Diamondbacks: One long shot with a dream that never died - Ryan Atkinson will likely begin the season in the minor leagues and faces a long road to the MLB. However, the fact that he is with the Diamondbacks as a non-roster invitee, after pitching in the Arizona Fall League last season, is remarkable considering he went undrafted out of the University of Cincinnati. It is the type of story and player one wants to root for.
[Fansided] Philadelphia Phillies got lucky by missing out on signing Yasmany Tomas - Why do I feel like champagne bottles and confetti poppers were on hand when this article was written? It is incredible to think that a handful of teams were not aware of how horrendous of a defender Yasmany Tomas was when he was being recruited. Perhaps they were, but the “Cuban craze” had suitors clamoring to spend on Tomas to get their own piece of the pie.
[AZ Central] Chris Owings is Diamondbacks’ new jack of all trades - Even after the trade of Brandon Drury to relieve some pressure off the middle infield logjam Chris Owings will find himself filling multiple roles in the field as a utility player. That could include spot starts at third base this season, a position he has not played since grade school. It is a testament to his athleticism and flexibility to be able to play a various number of positions. Of course, this is assuming that Nick Ahmed is able to secure the starting job at shortstop out of Spring Training.
“Obviously things can change, but in sitting down and talking with C.O., he’s going to walk all over the diamond and impact the game from different angles at different times throughout the course of the season,” Lovullo said.
[Inside the ‘Zona] Doubting Tomás: The Trouble with Finding Yasmany Playing Time - With the amount of utility and platoon players that will be on the 25 man roster, Owings, Daniel Descalso, Jarrod Dyson, combined with a three headed catching trio behind home plate, Yasmany Tomas will very likely find himself in Reno to begin the season. He is nearly a perfect juxtaposition to the recently signed Jarrod Dyson for better and for worse. What Tomas lacks in speed and defensive ability, he makes up for in his strong performance against left handed pitchers at the plate with a career 132 wRC+. Torey Lovullo would be wise to limit his playing time and primarily use him to DH during interleague play and as a pinch hitter against left handers.
Around the League
[NJ.com] Brandon Drury debuts by giving Yankees scare in 4-1 win - Old friend Brandon Drury was nearly put on the shelf before his season began when he was hit by a pitch on his left hand by Clay Holmes of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Shocking. Pirates pitchers’ ability to pitch entirely too far inside risking injury to the batter is seemingly in the best shape of its career this spring.
Jack Hamilton, whose errant inside pitch damaged the eyesight of Boston’s Tony Conigliaro in 1967 and caused a premature end to the career of the Red Sox star, has died. He was 79. “When I found out how serious it was, I tried to visit him at the hospital, but they were only letting the family in,” Hamilton said told the AP. “I never had a chance to see him or say anything to him after that.”
[Minneapolis Star Tribune] Turmoil forces Twins, Major League Baseball to vacate Venezuela - Venezuela has provided some of the best talent to the Major Leagues, but political turmoil and violence has forced clubs to abandon their camps in the country. Conflict has worsened to the point where clubs would rather scout a young Venezuelan in Columbia instead of his home country. Numerous players from Venezuela expressed their concern over conditions in their country last season including some who were brought to tears over fear for their families.
[The Athletic] MLB Draft prospects to watch: Five college starters with first-round potential - The Arizona Diamondbacks are slotted to take their first selection at #25 overall, so it is possible that none of these five names will fall towards them. Shane McClanahan already has one Tommy John Surgery to his name which might hurt his draft stock, but he is a left hander with a velocity in the upper 90’s, so he could be an early selection should he remain healthy.